Ktismatics

25 March 2008

Fight Club, 1999

Filed under: Movies — ktismatics @ 9:41 am

fight gun

fight walkway

fight self

fight plane

fight bldgs

Advertisements

94 Comments »

  1. So is this movie a celebration of fascism, or of anarchy, or of the status quo? If Tyler is an ego ideal, is the image of the father who hates him? Is the self-destructive urge an internalization of the father’s disappointment at not destroying him? When the hero tells his girlfriend at the end that everything’s going to be fine, does this fine-ness include the destruction of the office buildings via Operation Mayhem? When he pulls the trigger, would it have been better if Tyler was the one who survived?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 25 March 2008 @ 6:16 pm

  2. What I particularly liked about Fight Club was its establishment of an alternate reality in the midst of something not unlike ordinary everyday reality. The conceit does rely on a psychotic break, a split personality in the hero, the revelation of which I thought was a cheap trick. However, it does position the portal to fight club reality in the internal split of the self, which is nice.

    Toward the end of last February and the beginning of March I wrote a series of posts about Hegel’s master-bondsman discourse. I looked at a movie (Scorsese’s The Departed) and two books (Dick’s Scanner Darkly and Peter Watts’ Blindsight) in light of Hegel. Fight Club is another candidate for a Hegelian reading. While master-bondsman is often interpreted in politico-economic terms, Hegel also had in mind the internal division between self and self-consciousness, between agency and sentience. These two aspects of self battle each other for dominance, but what’s really at stake is fear of the Absolute Master, which is death. Self can act as an agent, but only by denying awareness of the Absolute Master; self can become aware of the Absolute Master’s ultimate victory, but the price is fear of action. Winning the inner conflict comes not by avoiding the Master but by making it the object of desire. By submitting oneself to death one can get beyond the fear of death.

    Now it’s possible to interpret Fight Club’s inner split in Lacanian terms, as a division between the symbolic order and the imaginary order, and it works that way. But Lacan too derived his theory from Hegel, and if you go back to that earlier source I think the interpretation is even clearer.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 27 March 2008 @ 10:07 am

  3. I do recall the Hegelian posts to which you refer, however, I wonder if you could expand your thought here on Lacan. Specifically, what is the “symbolic order” and what is the “imaginary order”? Is the symbolic order the control of corporate society? Is the imaginary order the world envisioned by Tyler? A world where you can scale the Empire state building on the vines that have grown up around it and look down on someone who is growing corn in the remains of a superhighway?

    This may be something of a clumsy effort on my part, but would it be fair to suggest that the Master is a society and culture that programs those who live within it to search for meaning in the image of ourself? For example, Jack (the Ed Norton character who is never named) builds much of his life’s purpose and meaning in the way he furnishes his apartment. But Tyler later says, “. After jack realizes (via Tyler, who is in fact a product of his own subconscious) that his world and its meaning/significance is something he rejects, then the next step is to destroy it: to reject it is to physically destroy it (bomb the condo, then later destroy the buildings that provide the credit currency that finances the world).

    For Jack/Tyler, it is not just enough to say, “I reject the Master of Meaning;” rather, they must destroy the Master. So, there is violence between the members of the Fight Club (internally), and there is violence projected on a society that has made a claim to Master meaning and purpose. I find it interesting that after a fight between Fight Club members, they can embrace. So, there is love and unity alongside the violence. Even the violence projected against the Master is not based on hate; there is a certain sense of humor that is carried through the movie. We don’t take the Master too seriously. Even though we want to destroy it, we find it simply absurd. So, Jack and Tyler are on a bus (or a subway?) and they see a poster of an underwear model. Jack nudges Tyler and gestures toward the poster. “Is that what a man is supposed to look like?” Tyler bursts out laughing. These are tough guys; they have been chiseled by their internally struggles with themselves. They have overcome the world by being stronger than it and by laughing at it. The Master is no longer to be taken seriously; they have overcome. The actually physical destruction of the Master is merely a matter of time.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 28 March 2008 @ 6:30 am

  4. Here is the quote that I meant to insert above by Tyler:

    advertising has us chasing cars and clothes
    working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need
    we’re the middle children of history
    no purpose or place
    we have no great war no great depression
    our great war is a spiritual war
    our great depression is our lives

    Earlier in the movie is the famous line, “The stuff you own ends up owning you.” So, there is a perception that you are the Master because you own your stuff. But who is really pulling the strings? Who has told you that owning that stuff would make your life meaningful?

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 28 March 2008 @ 6:33 am

  5. I might respond in pieces, Erdman, as I’ve got various thoughts swirling around my head right now.

    Jack says “I would flip through catalogs and wonder “what kind of dining set defines me as a person?” (Screenplay link here. The Ikea catalog presents Jack not just with a polished image of an idealized home to which he has become enslaved; that image also reflects his idealized image of himself. So what does he do? He blows it up. Tyler is the embodiment of Jack’s idealized self-image. So what does Jack do? He fights his own idealized image. Whoever those guys were who first saw Jack and Tyler fighting in the parking lot weren’t witnessing a manly brawl — they were seeing one guy beating himself up. And this is what attracts them to Fight Club, it seems: the opportunity to get beat up.

    The idealized images that populate the Imaginary Order attain their plenitude and meaning from the Symbolic Order, the interconnected structure of words and ideas that define the larger social reality in which we’re embedded. The movie is split between the bombardment of images where Tyler is the central figure, and the steady stream of words that Jack supplies in voice-over. Tyler occupies the realm of the Imaginary; Jack, of the Symbolic. There’s a kind of self-destructive work going on here, where the Symbolic Jack is trying to understand and control the Imaginary Tyler, while the Imaginary is trying to evade and overwhelm the Symbolic. But neither is really the Real Subject: both Jack and Tyler are produced by the Big Other. There’s the Father, who lives a serially monogamous life with a family “franchise” in every town, who tells Jack/Tyler what to do but who may in fact hate him. The Mother, who promotes subjection to the Big Other via nesting and self-help hugs and love. The Marketplace, which projects an endless series of images that collectively comprise the Imaginary Order, and that extends endless credit so people can buy this shit that keeps them subjected and that, in the case of the defective merchandise Jack tracks in his corrupt job, can kill you.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 28 March 2008 @ 9:35 am

  6. After posting this comment I went to gmail, which had this message displayed at the top of the screen that I thought you might get a kick out of:

    “Fight Club. http://www.CafePress.com – Over 175 Fight Club designs. T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats & more!”

    Gmail read your last comment, Erdman, and inferred that I might have an interest in related accesories.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 28 March 2008 @ 9:40 am

  7. Who has told you that owning that stuff would make your life meaningful?

    Well – Satan, who else? The reason these things have appeal is their bling bling, their promise of providing the lost plenitude of Eden. There is a very nice sequence, an animation, in the film, where you see his possessions growing and multiplying. Endless plenitude and affluence is what we associate with Paradise.

    Owen Hatherley just told me he doesn’t believe the reason people in socialist countries wanted to go to capitalism is the bling bling, he thinks it’s the economy, but I think it’s the bling bling, because our desire for happiness and pleasure is stronger than our desire for survival. Or at least sheer survival does not explain the success of capitalism.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 28 March 2008 @ 11:41 am

  8. “They have overcome the world by being stronger than it and by laughing at it. The Master is no longer to be taken seriously; they have overcome. The actually physical destruction of the Master is merely a matter of time.”

    That’s not how I see it. The self-destructive urge that launches Jack/Tyler into Fight Club turns deliberately toward fascism. The harvesting of liposuctioned fat is a funny idea, but it immediately brings to mind the Nazi death camps. And the whole army thing is fascistic, not at all the manifestation of a bunch of strong and zany anarchists who’ve found themselves. The Master hates them and they hate the Master, but the Master exists only in and among them. Pummeling the Imaginary Idealized Self seems to lead to the erection of an alternative tyrannical order in which self-identity is achievable only at the moment of one’s death — so the character played by Meat Loaf doesn’t get a name until he’s been killed.

    Now I think toward the end Jack is realizing the seductive sadomasochistic lure of the abyss. He loses his balls and turns himself in — which nearly results in his literally losing his balls. He started out by fighting his idealized fantasy self-image Tyler, who is also the proactive and unreflective agent, and in the end he finishes Tyler off by shooting himself in the mouth. Are we to assume what by this self-destructive gesture? That Jack has rejected this other version of himself once and for all? That through in effect achieving his own death he’s now free to be himself?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 28 March 2008 @ 1:39 pm

  9. I definitely agree with you that the Fight Club movement turns facist; but this is a progressive development. Fight Club begins with a pure vision of something better than the status quo. The characters discover and realize themselves through the violence of combat. They then realize how silly the outside world is and decide, “Hell, if we are stronger than they are, why not just destroy them and create our own organic society?” This requires organization and rules and eventually it all becomes a facist movement out of the control of even the leaders themselves.

    I find this progression both beautiful and heinous.

    Like

    Comment by Jonathan Erdman — 28 March 2008 @ 2:20 pm

  10. Analyzing the interior development of Jack/Tyler is intriguing, of course.

    Tyler represents the ability to free Jack of everything that Jack didn’t want to be; Jack did not want to be identified so closely with his possession. Hence, the quip, “You are not your fucking khakis!”

    From the movie/screenplay:
    TYLER: You were looking for a way to change your life. You could not do this on your own. All the ways you wished you could be…that’s me! I look like you wanna look, I fuck like you wanna fuck, I’m smart, capable and most importantly, I’m free in all the ways that you are not….

    JACK: This is impossible. This is crazy.

    TYLER: People do it every day. They talk to themselves. They see themselves as they like to be. They don’t have the courage you have, to just run with it.

    From Palahniuk’s book, on which the movie is based:
    Later, Jack explains to Marla what he believes happened:
    The first time I met Tyler, I was asleep.
    I was tired and crazy and rushed, and every time I boarded a plane, I wanted the plane to crash. I envied people dying of cancer. I hated my life. I was tired and bored with my job and my furniture, and I couldn’t see any way to change things.
    Only end them.
    I felt trapped.
    I was too complete.
    I was too perfect.
    I wanted a way out of my tiny life. Single-serving butter and cramped airline seat role in the world.
    Swedish furniture.
    Clever art.

    Jack talks about Tyler:
    I love everything about Tyler Durden, his courage and his smarts. His nerve. Tyler is funny and charming and forceful and independent, and men look up to him and expect him to change their world. Tyler is capable and free, and I am not.
    I’m not Tyler Durden.
    “But you are, Tyler,” Marla says.

    Now, here is an interesting line from P’s book:
    But we fought, I say. The night we invented fight club.
    “You weren’t really fighting me,” Tyler says. “You said so yourself. You were fighting everything you hate in your life….”

    From a Freudian perspective, Tyler in many ways represents the Id. “I fuck like you wanna fuck.” Tyler is uninhibited by society and, in fact, has the intelligence and desire and will (eventually) to destroy society. Pre-Tyler Jack is a slave to the expectations of his culture, a product of the advertising world that tells him to buy this or that product in order to be a meaningful person. But he hates it, and Tyler is born.

    But Tyler gets out of control. He goes too far. Jack mediates between the id and the super-ego: destroying society is madness/insanity.

    Ultimately, Jack kills Tyler.

    It’s funny, but I kind of want Tyler to win, but while I share Tyler’s vision for an organic society I am also repulsed by the facist means by which he attempts to achieve the vision.

    But maybe Tyler did win. After all, in the end the buildings do fall. And the space monkeys are waiting in the lobby.

    Like

    Comment by Jonathan Erdman — 28 March 2008 @ 2:34 pm

  11. Ktismatics,

    Since I’ve spent the last few hours going back through the movie and book, I’ll through out another comment re: the father motif.

    In the scene with the car crash, Tyler wants Jack to give up control. Tyler reveals that he blew up the condo b/c it represented his control over life. Ironically, everything Tyler does in the movie seems to be a calculation to control Jack; or, at least, to move Jack into a new perception of life. Tyler always knows what is wrong with Jack, and always has the answer for moving Jack to the next level of self-awareness. This method of control is eerily similar to the father figure. This paternal image becomes explicit after the car crash. Tyler is sitting next to Jack, who is waking/recovering from the events of that evening on the highway. Tyler shares his vision for an organic world. Then he leaves; the father once again abandons Jack: Jack’s father left Jack to start a new family in another town, “Fucker’s setting up franchises,” Tyler said. Before Tyler leaves Jack he tussles Jack’s hair and says what any Dad would say, “Fell better champ!” Jack watches Tyler as he leaves and the door closes.

    It’s interesting to interpret Tyler as Jack’s father figure. As the movie progress, their relationship seems to move through the various phases of a Father-Son relationship. For example, they are initially on friendly and playful terms, Tyler then assumes something of a hero role, Tyler instructs Jack and moves him through various levels of personal growth and development. Later, when Jack rejects Tyler and wants to have nothing to do with Tyler’s vision for a new and better world, Tyler becomes angry and demanding. Marla knows too much: “I think we might have to talk about how this might compromise our goals” is Tyler’s reply, in a patronizing tone. This is also evident in the same scene in Palahniuk’s book: Tyler says, “I’ll still live my life while you’re asleep, but if you fuck with me, if you chain yourself to the bed at night or take big doses of sleeping pills, then we’ll be enemies. And I’ll get you for it.”

    But if Tyler is something of a father figure in the movie/book, then it is fascinating to think about the following scene:

    TYLER: Listen to me. You have to consider the possibility that God doesn’t like you. He never wanted you. In all probability, he hates you. This is not the worst thing that can happen…

    JACK:It isn’t?

    TYLER: We don’t need Him.

    JACK: We don’t, we don’t, I agree.

    TYLER: Fuck damnation, man. Fuck redemption. We are God’s unwanted children. So be it!

    Like

    Comment by Jonathan Erdman — 28 March 2008 @ 2:44 pm

  12. Good stuff Erdman. I’ll have to go back and have another look at your post. I now know also where your “I am not a unique snowflake” self-description comes from. Also, I agree that the movie was very funny, deep analysis notwithstanding. And I just stopped at the library on my afternoon run looking for the book but it’s checked out. I shall return for another round with you later.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 28 March 2008 @ 3:08 pm

  13. “Fight Club. http://www.CafePress.com – Over 175 Fight Club designs. T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats & more!”

    Yes, there is even more irony: After Fight Club became popular, at least one fashion designer released a fashion of Fight Club line of clothing.

    Like

    Comment by Jonathan Erdman — 28 March 2008 @ 3:30 pm

  14. Although, isn’t essentially Durden a commodified, self-improved (“self-improvement is masturbation”…yeah, well….http://www.sixpacknow.com/brad_pitt_abs_workout.html) piece of mannish fantasy? I haven’t seen the film in a while, but the whole “I look like YOU want to look like…” always through me off balance in this regard. Clarity needed!

    Like

    Comment by Seyfried — 28 March 2008 @ 3:43 pm

  15. I just reread your post, Erdman. You and Dawn commented on the relationship between Fight Club and Office Space, with which I certainly agree. You’ll note that my post immediately preceding Fight Club was Office Space — a coincidence, since my wife is the one who put Office Space on the Netflix queue for reasons completely unrelated to Fight Club.

    In your post you make an association between Fight Club and Christianity, between Tyler and Jesus. There’s definitely a self-destructive theme to Christianity, and Jesus is the Christian ego-ideal, so I can see it. Some of us might regard the inner Jesus as more directly analogous to Tyler in the sense of him being an incomplete facet of the divided self rather than an entirely separate person, but we’ll let that go…

    That you regard Jack as the “real” person and Tyler as the imaginary projection is, I would say, a sign of your allegiance to the Symbolic Order, to words and reason above images and actions. But there’s also a change in the Symbolic Order that takes place through the course of the movie — MAYBE, but not certainly. Perhaps the book is clearer: at the end does Jack endorse the nihilistic anarchic project of Operation Mayhem, minus the killing of his girlfriend? I.e., has Jack “heard” what the Tyler aspect of his persona has been trying to tell him, so that now he has incorporated Tyler’s previously unconscious agenda into his own conceptual-verbal framework? If so, then Tyler is now integrated into Jack rather than “killed off” — that is, repressed, probably to return sometime in the future.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 28 March 2008 @ 3:50 pm

  16. “piece of mannish fantasy”

    That’s my contention too, Seyfried. I’m not persuaded that Tyler is raw impulsive id, an expression of unfiltered sex and violence. I think in a way he’s the equivalent of an Ikea showroom for the ideal self, an occupant of Lacan’s Imaginary Order rather than a denizen of the Real. HOWEVER, part of the contemporary ideal male self-image is action-oriented, sexually impulsive, and aggressive — the unimpeded expression of id. But Tyler also embodies the powerful leader ideal, the Big Other who controls the symbolic order, who is able to lead armies. The valorization of impulse, coupled with the organized expression of power, characterizes fascism. The implication is that contemporary American repressed males unconsciously desire fascism.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 28 March 2008 @ 4:06 pm

  17. I see that it’s just about hoops time. Tonight my alma mater MSU tries to survive another round against the 1-seed Memphis Whatevers. I say YES, the Spartans shall prevail!

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 28 March 2008 @ 4:14 pm

  18. Clysmatics, the stroboscopic image of what many claim is the actual cock of Brad Pitt at the end of the movie clearly connects the story to the Lacanian Law of the Father that is to say its collapse and the resulting dekline of simbolik efikasy. But Eerdman here doesn’t dig Lacan at all and you’re generously not explaining it to him in a language he can understand, preferring to showcase the knowledge of Lacan you borrowed from me and dr. Sinthome. This is quite an appalling display of arrogance towards your PG-rated Christian interlocutor, but on the other hand if the interlocutor’s masochism dictates it I am sure he will turn the other cheek and let you do it over, and over again.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 28 March 2008 @ 6:33 pm

  19. “preferring to showcase the knowledge of Lacan you borrowed from me and dr. Sinthome.”

    If I really understood it I’d write it more clearly. On the other hand, Lacan’s own impenetrable mumbo-jumbo suggests either that clarity of exposition signifies pathology or that Lacan himself didn’t know what he was talking about.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 28 March 2008 @ 6:44 pm

  20. Eerdman should think about an onion; according to Lacan’s 3D personality model, different from Freud’s though based on it, personality layers are organized around a hole, an empty core, what he calls the Real *that is the realm beyond death, sometimes referred to as the symbiotic prenatal relationship with the mother. The three layers are the Imaginary (=Unconscious), the Symbolic (=conscious processed through language and society, which Lacan claims are forces external to the human being and controlling him from birth to death) and the Real (the unknowable layer which cuts through the Imaginary and the Symbolic although cutting is not a good metaphor because the relationship of the layers isn’t linear, or hydraulic, as in Freud, but organized like a Moebius strip). What ensures that the layers retain a stable structure thusy preventing the personality from falling apart, is the Law of the Father or in other words the organizing principle of language, which Lacan thought was passed on through the Oedipus complex. But unlike Freud, Lacan felt that this Law, the acceptance of castration and paternal authority, was in the structure of language itself rather than some ”force” inside the personality, or inside the brain. And this is where his psychology most resembles Christianity, for Christianity also affords an ontological status to the Law of the Father or the Word of God. Some hard-working American materialists like dr. Sinthome do not like such parallels, but I feel they are very much present in Lacan’s text. They are also the reason why faux-Christian French snobs like Badiou and perverse Slovenlian demagogues like dr. Zizek discovered Jesus in Lacan.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 28 March 2008 @ 7:10 pm

  21. Parodyize: This is quite an appalling display of arrogance towards your PG-rated Christian interlocutor

    Perhaps he has simply become all things to all people so that by all possible means he might save some.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 28 March 2008 @ 7:22 pm

  22. .

    I find this progression both beautiful and heinous.

    Erdman what’s really at stake here is to what extent your Christianity has compromised your masculinity, how you deal with your latent homosexual desires for Brad Pitt, and whether as a Christian nerd you still feel a little envious of all the highschool bullies who got to date the hottest girls in highschool. There’s a certain what Lacan would call surplus of enjoyment in your investment in this film, forcibly suggesting that you have projected a lot of yourself into it.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 28 March 2008 @ 7:38 pm

  23. First, if my homosexual desires are latent, then they are not yet capable of being dealt with.

    Second, if I really were a good Christian nerd, then I would in no way feel envious of the high school bullies who dated the hottest girls because these bullies probably had sex with said girls, and that would put them at odds with God and in danger of hellfire. Premarital sex is on the short list of Conservative Evangelical sins. Virtuous boys who resist the world’s temptation will be rewarded, while fornicators stand to be judged!

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 28 March 2008 @ 7:58 pm

  24. Ktismatics: In your post you make an association between Fight Club and Christianity, between Tyler and Jesus. There’s definitely a self-destructive theme to Christianity, and Jesus is the Christian ego-ideal, so I can see it. Some of us might regard the inner Jesus as more directly analogous to Tyler in the sense of him being an incomplete facet of the divided self rather than an entirely separate person, but we’ll let that go…

    If I correctly recall the post to which you refer, I believe my conscious intention was to draw a parallel regarding the demands of Christ. Tyler continually demands more of Jack. At various points he makes comments to Jack regarding the need to lose everything, to sacrifice. This is a major theme in the movie: a person cannot change themselves or the world around them until they have nothing left to lose. As such, Tyler recruits the “all singing, all dancing crap of the world” for his army.

    Is this a “self-destructive theme”? I suppose that would depend on your perspective.

    K: That you regard Jack as the “real” person and Tyler as the imaginary projection is, I would say, a sign of your allegiance to the Symbolic Order, to words and reason above images and actions.

    Did I say Jack was the “real” person??? I didn’t remember saying that. If so, then I take it back.

    Actually, it is possible that my self has experienced a similar split as Jack/Tyler. So, perhaps it was my imaginary projection who aligned with the symbolic order. A crafty move designed to keep the imaginary self hidden for a while longer!

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 28 March 2008 @ 8:12 pm

  25. So anyhow, Tyler is Jack’s idealized self-image. Tyler is kind of a father figure in the sense that the idealized Father is what Jack wants to be, and he sees his father as a stud who knows how his son should run his life (go to college, get a job, get married). I suspect we’re in agreement so far.

    But Tyler, as idealized self, is also an iconoclast — his idealized Father (=God) doesn’t like him, he doesn’t like the Father, he doesn’t like his own image. And so (I contend) he wants to shatter his own imaginary perfection, to let it get beaten out of him. He’s trying to get the the Real Self, unencumbered by social expectations of God, the Father, and Ikea. But he doesn’t know what that Real Self is, what’s going to be left when he gets sufficiently broken. And if Lacan (via Hegel) is right, then this undiscovered true self is a hole, a void. So Fight Club is driven by the irresistible lure of the void.

    So where does the fascistic military discipline enter the picture? I think it’s another aspect of the idealized fantasy self, a desire not to ally with the dominant social power but to usurp it, to replace it. But with what can he replace it if he’s fully committed to delving the depths of the void? He’s committed to nihilism: the destruction of all social institutions. I don’t buy his communistic spiel of economic leveling as the motive for blowing up buildings — or perhaps the film is suggesting that communism is indistinguishable from nihilistic fascism. The last straw for Jack is that Tyler becomes inured to all humanistic values: he strips his soldiers of their names, he seems indifferent to the human toll likely to be exacted by his demolition projects, he wants to eliminate his own girlfriend because she knows too much.

    So in the end there’s a reclaiming of humanism, of individuality, of love. BUT, is he still pleased with the structural and economic mayhem he’s set in motion? The end of the movie is ambivalent. Erdman, is the book any clearer in this regard?

    And MSU is getting routed in the basketball game, despite the vibes I had sent their way.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 28 March 2008 @ 8:15 pm

  26. “Is this a “self-destructive theme”? I suppose that would depend on your perspective.”

    I’m thinking about the fighting itself. I’m probably overstating the self-destructive angle in light of the Hegelian-Lacanian split-self agenda. There is also the free expression of agression. Now why physical violence directed at one another would establish a sense of bonding I find confusing, unless we invoke the latent homoerotic theme — or if having somebody pound on you is something you value — which gets back to the self-destructive motif. I think the scene where Jack beats the shit out of that pretty boy certainly suggests homosexual desire.

    “Did I say Jack was the “real” person??? I didn’t remember saying that.”

    I meant the real version of the Jack/Tyler persona. Wouldn’t you say that you regard Tyler as the fantasy, the imaginary, the invention of Jack’s mind with no autonomous identity of his own? I think the situation is set up that way by having Jack function as narrator, as if he’s the one with something like an objective perspective that transcends the inner split.

    “Actually, it is possible that my self has experienced a similar split as Jack/Tyler. So, perhaps it was my imaginary projection who aligned with the symbolic order. A crafty move designed to keep the imaginary self hidden for a while longer!”

    Very possible. In Lacan’s world the imaginary is already defined by the symbolic order — hence Ikea and Tyler’s manliness. That’s why advertising works: it isn’t just a projection of your imagination; it’s been consciously designed, staged and produced to attract your imagination. So the imaginary isn’t really getting in touch with the true self; it gets you in touch with the dominant social order’s manipulation of your unconscious. That’s why there’s a hole in the middle: neither the Symbolic nor the Imaginary has any Real substance to build on.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 28 March 2008 @ 8:34 pm

  27. Ktismatics: I meant the real version of the Jack/Tyler persona. Wouldn’t you say that you regard Tyler as the fantasy, the imaginary, the invention of Jack’s mind with no autonomous identity of his own? I think the situation is set up that way by having Jack function as narrator, as if he’s the one with something like an objective perspective that transcends the inner split.

    This from the book:
    So, now that I know about Tyler, will he just disappear?
    “No,” Tyler says, still holding my hand, “I wouldn’t be here if the first place if you didn’t want me. I’ll still live my life while you’re asleep, but if you fuck with me, if you chain yourself to the bed at night or take big doses of sleeping pills, then we’ll be enemies. And I’ll get you for it.”
    Oh, this is bullshit. This is a dream. Tyler is a projection. He’s a disassociative personality disorder. A psychogenic fugue state. Tyler Durden is my hallucination.
    “Fuck that shit,” Tyler says. “Maybe you’re my schizophrenic hallucination.”
    I was here first.
    Tyler says, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, well let’s just see who’s here last.”

    Like

    Comment by Jonathan Erdman — 28 March 2008 @ 8:43 pm

  28. K,

    The book ending is quite different than the movie, so I’ll just let you read it….but I can safely say that the fascist theme is more dominant in the movie.

    Like

    Comment by Jonathan Erdman — 28 March 2008 @ 8:55 pm

  29. That dialogue between Jack and Tyler from the book makes a more ambivalent situation than the movie — and I like it. While watching the movie I wasn’t persuaded by the move to the fascist army — didn’t think it fit with the fundamental anarchy of Fight Club. So I’ll have to wait and see. And I’m wondering whether Dejan ever actually saw this movie.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 28 March 2008 @ 9:19 pm

  30. If one were to look on the bright side… Destroying the image as projected by societal expectations is a good thing. Giving expression to the repressed is a good thing. Re-envisioning what it means to be a man is a good thing. Establishing a sense of solidarity both in communal bonding and in joint pursuit of worthwhile endeavor is a good thing. Destroying the existing social order that sustains the image, that represses authentic expression, that inhibits solidarity, that emasculates — is this a good thing too? Here’s the question posed by Fight Club, by Office Space, by Amores Perros. And is the energy that fuels this societal destruction an impersonal id-like force that flows through us, a transcendent spiritual force that lifts us out of humanity, or a principled conscious awareness of what we’re about?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 29 March 2008 @ 4:28 am

  31. Paradigm Centers: Eerdman should think about an onion; according to Lacan’s 3D personality model, different from Freud’s though based on it, personality layers are organized around a hole, an empty core, what he calls the Real *that is the realm beyond death, sometimes referred to as the symbiotic prenatal relationship with the mother.

    Recent Christian theology (of the 20th century variety) took off on Nietzsche and Existential thinking (and then eventually Postmodernism, to some degree) by saying that even though in Nietzsche’s world there was no purpose, God could provide purpose. Even though for Existentialists there was no meaning, God could provide meaning. Even in a postmodern world without a center or stability, God exists to provide the believer with a center and stable core. Billy Graham took this popular with his message that “there is a God-shaped hole in each of us that only he can fill.”

    I’ve always been a bit skeptical about this approach to evangelism. It has always seemed to me as though Christianity (in Capitalist/Market terms) was just trying to fill a void in the market: trying to make a niche.

    Interestingly, some so-called postmodern philosophers (of the Derrida and Lacan variety) seemed to open up religious and theology in a way not previously done. They seemed to suggest that regardless of whether one actually believed in the “real” existence of God, theological discussion had some merit.

    My specific though here is this: should Christianity necessarily posit a “God-shaped hole” that only God can fill? Or should theology rethink this assumption and perhaps suggest that an empty core is lot in life for most of humanity? If Christian theology suggests an empty core, then where is the place for Jesus’ words regarding “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” and “my peace I give to you” and the motif of building one’s “house” on the “rock” rather than on the “sand”?

    As a side note, I think we find strong parallels in Ecclesiastes that various strands of postmodern thinking, specifically, that the world itself is subject to unpredictable chaos, disorder, and injustice, and (as opposed to various strands of wisdom literature) there is no formula that one can apply that will ensure a happy/wealthy/meaningful/fulfilling existence. For Qohelet, if we find these things, we should be glad and thank God b/c nothing is guaranteed.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 29 March 2008 @ 4:53 am

  32. Ktismatics: And is the energy that fuels this societal destruction an impersonal id-like force that flows through us, a transcendent spiritual force that lifts us out of humanity, or a principled conscious awareness of what we’re about?

    Could you expand on this a bit?

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 29 March 2008 @ 4:55 am

  33. Deleuze proposes an immanent movement toward perpetual revolution fueled by sub-personal forces: drives, rhizomes, lines of flight — various terms can be used to describe these forces. The idea is that these primal forces need to be unleashed in the world, released from repression, “deterritorialized” from the constraints imposed on them by societal constraint as exercised by political and economic power. This approach derives from Spinoza and Nietzsche. Some regard the Deleuzian approach as indistinguishable from contemporary capitalism, which is always eager to give the consumer and the knowledge worker an opportunity to express himself if there’s profit to be squeezed out of it. And to impose collective discipline on the immanent movement of drive starts to feel like fascism, which is the exercise of concentrated power for its own sake, as a primal urge. This might be the horizon toward which Tyler’s Operation Mayhem is moving.

    On the other side of immanence is transcendence: the intervention of a higher force that lifts humanity above itself. Transcendent revolution would assert the fundamental emptiness and futility of humanity, but would fill that hole with an external source of plenitude. This superhuman entity or force propels people toward heights they would not otherwise be able to attain. But because it asserts its transcendence, this super-force cannot be questioned or overruled, even if it seems to demand unreasonable or contra-instinctual demands on its subjects. Those who are not empowered by this transcendent force become “merely human,” subjected to the will and dominance of the super-humans. And those who claim special connection with the transcendent — divinely-sanctioned kings and priests and so on — are in a position to exploit their power, as if they themselves were gods.

    Then there’s the more controlled revolutionary movement, governed by enlightened human awareness rather than instinct or divine revelation. This sort of movement could be based in rationally considered self-interest or in ideological principles. Affiliation is a matter of mutual agreement rather than an instinctive joining of forces or a special calling to the elect. And presumably the social destruction is systematic and purposive rather than anarchic. Discipline is a means to an end rather than an end in itself (i.e., as an act of self-subjugation to an immanent or transcendent power).

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 29 March 2008 @ 5:42 am

  34. Recent Christian theology (of the 20th century variety) took off on Nietzsche and Existential thinking (and then eventually Postmodernism, to some degree) by saying that even though in Nietzsche’s world there was no purpose, God could provide purpose.

    Erdman, some materialist readers of Lacan like our favorite dr. Sinthome, the larval subjects, seem to think that this is in stride with Lacan’s idea that the point of psychoanalysis and of spiritual development as it were would be to give up on all security of false paternal authority (because you see the way language is structured, by the Law of the Father, you are ontologically subjugated to it), undergo what he called ”subjective destitution”. (Mind you it;s important to note that psychoanalysis is no deliverance or religion, therefore Lacan never claimed that it could save your soul: merely make you less vulnerable to manipulation. ) If however some external authority like a God is to ”fill the Hole” then this would just be repeating the originating manipulation, i.e. the drama of the Oedipus complex, and just enslave you in a different way. To the contrary, successful panalysis would have to bring you to an awareness of how your personality is an onion skin around a Hole, and then help you a bit to deal with that fact without going mad or becoming neurotic.

    This is where I need you knowledge of theology to surmise whether this is a justified anxiety on the side of the materialists. It appears to me that Christian Orthodoxy places an accent on the fact that salvation is always accessible, because God is unlimited plenitude. God doesn’t exert control, He doesn’t guarantee and He does not punish. Instead, we have our Free Will to either experience His love, or not. The idea, then, that He is ”paternal authority” becomes meaningless, as does the organization of a Catholic church. God as a guarantor and a punisher is our projection, our desire for ”the Big Other” as Lacan called it, an instance that guarantees our well-being, protects or punishes us; God in Himself has nothing to do with this.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 29 March 2008 @ 6:55 am

  35. But because it asserts its transcendence, this super-force cannot be questioned or overruled, even if it seems to demand unreasonable or contra-instinctual demands on its subjects.

    So I would put this under scrutiny: which concrete religion or religious institution sees God as a superforce that cannot be questioned or overruled? Certainly some churches do, but that does not have to be the end all of the discussion. There is a difference between saying that something is given, as in God’s order is simply given, and saying that something is axiomatic or a rule or a law, so that you HAVE TO follow it (otherwise you go to Hell). By the way Lacan’s teaching I think was not an assertion and a celebration of the Phallic Law, the Law of the Father, but merely a registration of its operation and existence in the human society and language as we know it today. As Sinthome rightly pointed out, Lacan felt that his teaching will continuously evolve and it is therefore possible to imagine a society without the Phallic Law. So this Law cannot really be equated with a God, I think, because God can project many different Laws and worlds and is I think in this sense closer to Deleuzes Body Without Organs.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 29 March 2008 @ 7:03 am

  36. I was reading about the Eastern Orthodox conception of God’s energies on Wikipedia:

    The principle is that God’s essence (ousia) is distinct from his energies (energeiai) or activities in the world, and it is the energies that enable us to experience something of the Divine. These energies are “unbegotten” or “uncreated”. These energies can not be created or destroyed. They are unbegotten or uncreated, because they are a natural by-product of something which is beyond existence. Orthodox theology holds that while humans can never know God’s “Essence” and that direct experience of God would simply obliterate us (much as Moses could not survive seeing God’s face), God’s “Energies” can be directly experienced (as Moses could see God’s back and live). These energies are considered to be uncreated in nature. Unlike the realities, of the Trinity such as being the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit, the energies of God are not considered to be unique to a specific hypostasis of the Trinity. Instead, they are common to all three.

    The presence of the energies is not to be taken as denial of the philosophical simplicity of God. Therefore, when speaking of God, it is acceptable within Eastern Orthodoxy to speak of his energies as God. These would include kataphatic or positive statements of God like the list of St Paul’s energies of God. God being love, faith and hope and knowledge (see 1 Cor. 13:2 – 13:13). As is also the case of Gregory of Palamas that God is grace and deifying illumination.

    This is more in keeping with the Spinozan-Deleuzian ideas of immanence. Erdman and I have discussed Paul’s idea that Christianity exists beyond Law. These immanent energies would empower people to live a god-infused life without requiring top-down external demands or controls.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 29 March 2008 @ 8:58 am

  37. This is more in keeping with the Spinozan-Deleuzian ideas of immanence. Erdman and I have discussed Paul’s idea that Christianity exists beyond Law. These immanent energies would empower people to live a god-infused life without requiring top-down external demands or controls.

    Can you elaborate on this, I am a newbie in the world of theological lingo. When it is said that God’s energies can be directly experienced, would that mean that God is more corporeal, closer to humanity as Kazantsakis wrote (in contrast to Catholicism) and (2) what is the implication of the idea that the energies are common to all hypostases of the Trinity instead of being specific to one – is this not related to the central question of the Great Schism? (3) What is St Paul’s list of energies of God? (4) why is the parallel being made with Gregory of Palamas?

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 29 March 2008 @ 3:15 pm

  38. Virtuous boys who resist the world’s temptation will be rewarded, while fornicators stand to be judged!

    Yes in the midst of much Anglo-Saxonic ”Christianity” is the Calvinist daddy, a closeted homosexual or more frequently a pederast, holding a whip in his hand and looking sternly down on the child, whose soft lips are about to wrap around his vampiric Calvinist cock. I am sorry Erdman but I can’t accept a punishing good, especially since Sigmund Freud exposed Him already in the 19th century. There must be a more intelligent God, one who realizes that success is more likely if you let the sinner experience his own need for love, instead of putting him through S and M, to get there. Otherwise what use do I have of God. There’s enough sadistic daddies in the world to last me beyond this life.

    Speaking of The Fight Club, I had the impression the film is to a large extent about Bateson’s double bind communication which I think is at the core of softly-totalitarian regimes, such as self-management or neoliberal capitalism respectively. The primary control mechanism in our society is to give the subject the idea that while being exploited, humiliated and drained at work he is actually doing something beautiful, useful or smart. The subject is in a way pussified by capitalism, invaginated by it, and so the desire of the fight clubbers is just as much a negative reaction to control as it is a desperate attempt to regain their (masculine) control. The androgynous central character’s split is partially between a top and a bottom, as you would have it in gay language, reflecting gender as well as the passiveactive dichotomy. I have always wondered about the female character in the all-male exclusive club, played by the repulsive and castrating Helena Bonham Carter. What is her significance? I sense she has a key significance in psychoanalytic terms.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 29 March 2008 @ 3:28 pm

  39. K: That you regard Jack as the “real” person and Tyler as the imaginary projection is, I would say, a sign of your allegiance to the Symbolic Order, to words and reason above images and actions.

    Clys I think Erdman was operating on the old Freudian pressure model, the modernist literature format; it is crucial for him to understand that Laca collapsed this model to offer the Moebius strip, which allows for dyschronic relationships, paradoxes, parallel connections and all that fodder of chaos theory. If he understands this it will be clear that the two ‘split’ characters exist simultaneously, on different reality ”levels”, through different portals; and there is no movement towards ”integration”, really, along the lines of old-fashioned psychological drama, as much as the Deleuzian affect (the fight) which threatens to run amock although it is also certainly a creative force, as Clysmatics rightly points out.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 29 March 2008 @ 3:33 pm

  40. PC it looks like you have adumbrated in an intriguing fashion, but I’m on my way out to dinner so reading, considering, responding etc. must wait, probably until tomorrow am.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 29 March 2008 @ 4:08 pm

  41. PC, I’m reluctant to expound on Orthodox theology since that’s a tradition I know very little about. Erdman might know more from his studies. But I’ll offer a few observations.

    There’s an exterior-interior dialectic at work in Christianity. The Law is exterior: a set of demands placed on the community and the self. The Law has no power to make people more godlike; if anything, it both exposes human limitations and stimulates desire to transgress (a Lacanian theme). In contrast, there’s a mystical movement at work in Christianity, whereby the person is in effect possessed by Christ or the Holy Spirit who acts through the person. Godliness is attained seemingly at the expense of losing one’s humanity. If, though, one asserts that God exerts “energies” that aren’t the same as manifestations of God himself, then God can become an active force in people’s lives without overwhelming their individuality and agency. In 1 Corinthians 13 this godly energy manifests itself primarily as love. I think it’s not just the individual’s response to God’s love that’s in sight here, but also the energy of God’s love directly energizing people also to love; i.e., to act with patience and kindness and truthfulness even when there seems no reason or desire to do so. The energies of God would constitute a primal force that supplements the immanent biopower of genetics and instinct. I would think the theological question is whether this godly energy can be tapped only through the special bestowal by God on specific people whom he “saves,” or whether this energy permeates the world, affecting everyone all the time “from the ground up.”

    The Orthodox-Catholic Great Schism: again, Erdman may be more up on this, but as I recall it has to do with whether the Holy Spirit emanates from the Father alone (Orthodox) or from both the Father and the Son (Catholic). Now if you regard the Son as more corporeal than the Father, and if you regard the Spirit as the source through which God’s energies flow, then it could be argued that the Catholic position would offer the more corporeal form of godly energy and love. However, the Catholics to my knowledge don’t talk much about God’s energies. Maybe both the Son and the Spirit are manifestations of God in the material realm, but whereas the Son constitutes individual subjective agency, the Spirit is a more primal, subpersonal force. Then the Father becomes the superpersonal force among men: the Word, the Law, the Symbolic Order in which individual agency must find its unique and subjective way in each person, just as it did in Jesus.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 30 March 2008 @ 5:04 am

  42. “I had the impression the film is to a large extent about Bateson’s double bind”

    Agree. We’ve been focusing on the individual Symbolic/Imaginary split in Jack/Tyler, we recognize that both “selves” are the product of the social order in which they (we) are embedded. So to destroy the false selves it becomes necessary also to destroy the reality that produces these selves. This reality, manufactured and commodified and sold, includes the tough/sexy/leader idealized male image and the idealized Ikea lifestyle, the globe-hopping exploitive job and the no-limit credit card. These are the machines that continuously project false selves onto us, so to destroy the false selves in hopes of maybe finding/creating something more authentic, it’s necessary to destroy the projector.

    “The androgynous central character’s split is partially between a top and a bottom”

    I always tend to think of the split as vertical, but you appropriately call attention to the horizontal axis as well. This battle for dominance is implicit in Hegel’s master-bondsman discourse: is the unconsciously active self on top, or is it the consciously aware self? Which is the source of personal agency: action or sentience? Dionysus Stoned has a link to a speech by Agamben where he talks about the traditional hierarchical view that the sovereign doesn’t have to govern; i.e., that sentience dominates action. In the American popular cultural ideal the hierarchy is reversed: the man of action takes precedence over the thoughtful man. But the man of action is vulnerable to exploitation, to being fucked by the system, to being turned into an agent of the social order and its masters.

    The Marla character seemed extraneous in the movie — not even a very compelling love interest. Maybe the book is different. In the beginning Jack is addicted to self-help groups, looking for feminine nurturance. But nurturance is also a feminization, as immediately presented by Meat Loaf hugging Jack to his man tits (moobs I think is the contemporary idiom). Marla too also seems to be looking for nurturance, whereas in fact maybe she mostly wants some good hard fucking. Is she too resisting passive feminization? Hard to say. Is she also an alternative mother figure for Jack, inasmuch as she dominates Jack and Tyler (an idealized father figure) is the one who is fucking Marla?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 30 March 2008 @ 5:56 am

  43. Clysmatics, I think it would be absurd to even imagine that the top bottom dichotomy doesn´t rule the world, I mean just look at all these intricate hierarchical systems within the COntinental philosophy blogosphere. Marquis de Sade is the real Master of the world as we know it. But, I think what Deleuze is trying to tell us is that the top bottom dichotomy are produced, and therefore false. And when you think of it religiously, we ARE supposed to see the world with an angel´s eyes, with God´s infinitely patient and loving eyes. Casting such a glance theoretically would also help transform the enslaved person into someone who doesn´t see the master and the slave in his relationships with the world anymore. This actually sounds a lot like Lacan´s ideal ending of psychoanalysis, …

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 30 March 2008 @ 8:06 am

  44. “Casting such a glance theoretically would also help transform the enslaved person into someone who doesn´t see the master and the slave in his relationships with the world anymore.”

    Christians like to talk about subjecting themselves to the Lord, but there’s a parallel Biblical discourse where Jesus is firstborn of an extended brotherhood who are fellow-heirs of the Kingdom of God, no longer enslaved to the Law.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 30 March 2008 @ 8:38 am

  45. As practical wisdom would have it, a disciplinary spanky works much less efficiently than liberalism. In Holland it is legal to smoke pot, but because it’s legal, there are not so many pot users in Holland. Well if the Dutch can do it, then God certainly also can.

    ). Now if you regard the Son as more corporeal than the Father, and if you regard the Spirit as the source through which God’s energies flow, then it could be argued that the Catholic position would offer the more corporeal form of godly energy and love.

    That’s not it – there’s somethin else, which I faintly remember from reading the Russian theologist Bedrzajev. He claimed I think that the crucial difference was linguistic, beween Godman and Mangod. Whatever word takes precedence is how the relationship of God and man is viewed by the respective churches, and the Orthodox variant puts man in the first place, after that god, though in both cases you have a supranatural entity consisting of both elements. I think this is why Kazantsakis wrote the book I often mention, the Last Temptation of Christ. The point was to show that Jesus was first of all a human being, as fallible as the rest of us, and that whatever transpired on earth was the most important part of his life.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 30 March 2008 @ 11:35 am

  46. Is she also an alternative mother figure for Jack, inasmuch as she dominates Jack and Tyler (an idealized father figure) is the one who is fucking Marla?

    She is a femme fatale, because this is a film noir narrative, but I had the impression she was masculinized, more like a sister than a lover. I have to see the movie again to check this thought, but there are too many new interesting titles I bought yesterday at the discount DVD shop, among them PERFUME THE STORY OF A MURDERER and THE QUIET AMERICAN.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 30 March 2008 @ 11:38 am

  47. I was in Chicago yesterday. I was getting caught up on the discussion and had pushed the button to leave a comment, but unfortunately the computer I am working on froze.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 30 March 2008 @ 12:09 pm

  48. Marla’s masculinization was only gestured at — her chain-smoking made her a tough cookie, and she presented herself as dominatrix relative to Jack. Not sufficiently well-developed as a character though, and Bonham-Carter’s pseudo-goth performance looked like it came out of a Tim Burton cartoon — fine in its place but not helpful here.

    I saw Perfume, much of which was set in Grasse, not far from where we lived in France. Also loved that orgy scene, staged in Barcelona. I’ve not seen The Quiet American, but Graham Greene lived in Antibes where we also lived — used to pass by his apartment on the way to the train station.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 30 March 2008 @ 12:24 pm

  49. The comment I was getting ready to post included a response to a comment by Parody regarding the Calvinistic S&M God…..but I can’t find it anywhere! Did God destroy it???!!?

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 30 March 2008 @ 12:26 pm

  50. Tyler warns Jack about Marla, saying, “She’s a predator posinga as a house pet.”

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 30 March 2008 @ 12:31 pm

  51. K: there’s a mystical movement at work in Christianity, whereby the person is in effect possessed by Christ or the Holy Spirit who acts through the person. Godliness is attained seemingly at the expense of losing one’s humanity. If, though, one asserts that God exerts “energies” that aren’t the same as manifestations of God himself, then God can become an active force in people’s lives without overwhelming their individuality and agency. In 1 Corinthians 13 this godly energy manifests itself primarily as love. I think it’s not just the individual’s response to God’s love that’s in sight here, but also the energy of God’s love directly energizing people also to love…..I would think the theological question is whether this godly energy can be tapped only through the special bestowal by God on specific people whom he “saves,” or whether this energy permeates the world, affecting everyone all the time “from the ground up.”

    This is a good question.

    There is certainly a motif in Jesus and Paul of denial of self: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Matt 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23) In the letter to the Galatians in which Paul speaks of Freedom through the Spirit and the renunciation of Law/Flesh, Paul also says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

    The book of 2 Peter also takes up the same theme: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (The Peter passage about “participating in the divine nature” reminds me of the (primarily) Eastern theology of theosis.)

    So, what is it? Freedom from Law, religion, and social obligation? Or death?

    In Philippians 2, Christ is the model for laying down one’s life so that the believer can lay down his life for other believers, presumably in the 1 Corinthians 13 manner. Also in Phil 2 is the encouragement to “work out” salvation through God who is working within.

    Parody notes, “There must be a more intelligent God, one who realizes that success is more likely if you let the sinner experience his own need for love, instead of putting him through S and M, to get there.”

    I think this is something like what is at work. I have nothing against the theology of forensic justification, but from my own personal experiences, real transformation occurs through the experience of being forgiven/loved, which can then lead one to live a life of forgiveness and love.

    To directly answer Ktismatics’s question, then, I think that for Jesus/Paul transformation is explicitly Christological: those who partake in the experience of forgiveness/love can then live in freedom through oneness with the Spirit and death to self and can reciprocate forgiveness/love to others. (John (in the first epistle, chap 2) goes so far as to suggest that love is the litmus test for one’s ontological status: “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.”) But is it possible that a Christian theology could suggest that Christ works in cognito, as it were, from the ground up as an energy and agent of forgiveness and love? I think that’s certainly possible…perhaps even probable….I’ll have to think about that further.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 30 March 2008 @ 5:47 pm

  52. As you know Erdman, I’m a secular fellow; consequently I look for ways of seeing Christianity that I could reconcile with my own secular outlook. Sometimes these reconciliations take the form of alternative readings of Scripture; sometimes no reading of Scripture will do. The death-of-self theme poses a challenge. To the extent that I am saddled with a false self, to that extent self-destruction is worth pursuing — as a preliminary step toward achieving a more authentic self that isn’t imposed on me by outside forces. To the extent that the outside forces command self-renunciation as a way for them to take even greater control of me, to that extent I reject the death-to-self theme. I think it’s conceivable that I would resist benevolent forces that rise up within me or that surround me. But I can’t go along with the idea of literally being possessed by a god, who then causes me to go with the flow of these benevolent forces by overriding my own humanity. This sacrifice of self-identity and self-agency is I think precisely the wrong way to deal with our human limitations and weaknesses.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 30 March 2008 @ 6:46 pm

  53. If I were also a secular fellow than I imagine that I would agree…..but then again, if the “self” is essentially an empty core, then I’m not quite sure that looking within is necessarily the answer. Does that bring you back to something like the pomo theme of playing within the chaos? Or do you favor a more Sartrean perspective of exercising one’s freedom of will in the face of meaninglessness?

    K: To the extent that the outside forces command self-renunciation as a way for them to take even greater control of me, to that extent I reject the death-to-self theme.

    I think the obvious question (and one I have wrestled with quite a bit) is whether the “outside force” of Spirit is, in fact, an actual supernatural force–a real transcendence–or merely a projection/human construction that the institution has cooked up to control the individual and saddle them under the burden of religious obligation. (Cf. D’s Grand Inquisitor) I wrestle with this a good deal b/c I find that the vast majority of so-called “spirituality” occurs within religious institutions where it is impossible to distinguish the transcendent Spirit/God from men’s desire to control and gain power. This has been the chaos within which I have played!

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 31 March 2008 @ 6:03 am

  54. I think the trajectory of the empty self that traverses from Hegel to Lacan originates in Paul’s discourse. Hegel studied at a Lutheran seminary, and Luther certainly subscribed to the Pauline doctrine of human incompleteness. Luther was a both/and sort of thinker: both bread/wine and body/blood, both sinner and saint, both immanent and transcendent, both dead to self and alive to Christ. For Hegel the inner split between self-as-agent and self-as-consciousness resolves itself through submission to the Ultimate Master who is Death, but Death is eventually swallowed up in Life; i.e., the transcendent Spirit. The Spirit is also split between action and awareness, and in the culmination of the ages, at the end of history, Spirit overcomes its inner split. Through development the human self too overcomes the inner split, acting out on a limited human scale what Spirit is approaching on a cosmic scale.

    Lacan inherits the Hegelian split but rejects the transcendent healing of the split; he inherits Hegelian emptiness but rejects the plenitude of the Spirit. Lacan mostly wants to get the individual to arrive at the awareness of the split with the hole in the middle, and also to reject the Christian premise that something from outside the self will be able to fill this hole and heal the split. He’s not much of a guide about what one is supposed to do upon reaching this position of subjective destitution, but I’d say the work becomes something like a cautious existentialism: create the self within the fairly narrow limits permitted by the social world in which the self is embedded. Deleuze, in contrast, rejects the Hegelian/Lacanian split/hole psychology, saying that it’s an artifact of Christian theology and the marketplace that thrives on selling junk that supposedly fills the hole in the self.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 31 March 2008 @ 6:57 am

  55. “I find that the vast majority of so-called “spirituality” occurs within religious institutions where it is impossible to distinguish the transcendent Spirit/God from men’s desire to control and gain power.”

    Hence your fast from church? The hermetic branch of monasticism is motivated by this purely individual search for true mystical experience. It’s interesting that in Catholic governance dating back through medieval times the monastic organizational network operates in parallel to the priest/bishop/cardinal hierarchy of the church. Possibly this is true in the Orthodox organizational charts as well.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 31 March 2008 @ 7:43 am

  56. K: Deleuze, in contrast, rejects the Hegelian/Lacanian split/hole psychology, saying that it’s an artifact of Christian theology and the marketplace that thrives on selling junk that supposedly fills the hole in the self.

    Any guess at where Paul stands on this one?

    I sympathize with the Hegel/Lacan split/hole, but along with Deleuze, I reject the Christian Spiritual Tonic that has been peddled in the marketplace as a cure-all. Christ-of-the-gaps is the Billy Graham approach of the 20th century. I suppose one goes back to Augustine for traces of it: thou hast made us for thyself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee. I sympathize with Augustine from personal experience, and in many ways I think there is likely quite a difference between Augustine’s reflection and struggles and the Salvation-by-alter-call approach of the evangelists and Christian moralists.

    Again, I’m wondering where St. Paul stands on this. He does not seem interested in a narcissistic American Christianity that sits back and waits for God to fill in the missing pieces of one’s life to reach peace and contentment. Paul seems concerned with “working out” salvation through an active/dynamic engagement with the Spirit: putting faith into play. Really, there seems to be little in terms of an existential anxiety with Paul. Paul was a missionary, after all, so I don’t know that he had time to sit back and reflect on the “God shaped hole” or to contemplate in a Kierkegaardian fashion. His reflections on the Spirit seem to come out of his theology of Law and its inferiority as a guiding principle for life.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 31 March 2008 @ 1:52 pm

  57. My immediate reaction is to consider Paul’s old self/new self discourse. Rather than saying that people are okay except for the missing bit, he seems to argue that the whole self needs to be replaced with a different model. The question is whether Paul really has in mind something ontologically new, of some sort of different spiritual substance from what an ordinary human psyche is made of. This would be analogous to the issue of transubstantiation: are the bread/wine somehow replaced by body/blood, or is it a symbolic change? If we think about these things in terms of meaning, then maybe instead of regarding “self” as something substantial, we think of it as a way of making sense of who we are. So what we need to do isn’t to change materially, but to reframe ourselves in a different meaning system. Maybe in fact the “old man” is a self-concept centered around a hole in the middle that’s looking for something to fill it, whereas the “new man” is a self understood without a hole, a self that’s complete because it exists in a meaning system infused by the “energies” of God. Preliminary thoughts.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 31 March 2008 @ 2:23 pm

  58. I had another thought, Erdman, about the link between Paul and Lacan: Romans 7. Here Paul presents a self divided between conflicting desires. “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” But this seems counter-intuitive: Paul is saying that what he would LIKE to do is to follow the Law, but clearly there’s some other part of himself that he doesn’t understand that would LIKE to do just the opposite. For this other part of himself, following the Law is the hated action. Paul summarizes his dilemma: “So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.” The mind is enslaved to Law; the “flesh” — which I think isn’t the “Real” self but rather the unconscious part of the self — resists the Law’s repression and that expresses itself through illicit action. “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” And it’s BOTH sides of the divided self, the mind AND the flesh, that comprise the “body of this death.” This whole economy of self, with Law and desire constantly at odds with each other, that has to be done away with. It’s on a death trajectory already; Paul says to go ahead and put it to death once and for all. It’s by opening the divide between mind and flesh, the void that is death, that it becomes possible to live a different sort of life. So the divide, the gap, the void, becomes the portal that passes through death into life.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 April 2008 @ 10:25 am

  59. K: It’s on a death trajectory already; Paul says to go ahead and put it to death once and for all. It’s by opening the divide between mind and flesh, the void that is death, that it becomes possible to live a different sort of life. So the divide, the gap, the void, becomes the portal that passes through death into life.

    Earlier in this thread you expressed some hesitations about “death to self” theology. But it seems as though you may be warming to the idea. It all depends on what we mean by “death to self” does it not?

    I think both of us would reject the pop-Christian version of death to self without too much consideration. This interpretation is merely a thin disguise that seeks conformity to the religious crowd: be good, give your tithe, fill the pews each week, read your Bible (according to the way we taught you), and pray every day (the things that we tell you to pray). Within the religious institution the death of self means loss of identity.

    Maybe that has nothing to do with what Paul is getting at. It seems to be something more mystical and transformative.

    As you are suggesting, maybe death to self is a death to a meaning system (per your earlier comment) that operates with a tension of Law and Desire. As Paul makes clear, these two concepts are intertwined. Law feeds Desire and Desire makes Law necessary. Which comes first? Who knows? The point is they are both at work. Paul says to die to that way of thinking. Reshape the paradigm: live with freedom, per Galatians 5. And, of course, live by the Spirit.

    Death to a system of self-centeredness that places Desire and Law at the center. Paul says “I no longer live, but Christ within me.” Interesting. Thanks for that feedback. It’s really helping me see Paul in a new and better way.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 2 April 2008 @ 7:17 pm

  60. “It all depends on what we mean by “death to self” does it not?”

    Jack/Tyler was working on destroying the law and the image that defined his self in terms acceptable to the societal order. The question posed by the movie, and by Paul too, is whether this self-destruction is making room for some other self-constructed self to find room to emerge, or whether by destroying self you submit the self to domination by a different outside force: fascistic discipline in the case of Fight Club, spiritual possession by a god in the case of Paul. The idea that “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” sounds not like a reconfigured self but a thoroughgoing renunciation of the possibility of an autonomous self.

    “Maybe that has nothing to do with what Paul is getting at. It seems to be something more mystical and transformative.”

    I’d be interested in seeing your exegetical move toward an alternative reading, Erdman. I agree with your interpretation of self as a meaning system where law and desire define one another, but the question is what replaces this version of self.

    “Paul says “I no longer live, but Christ within me.””

    This sentence seems central to the discussion, doesn’t it? Can you read this in some way other than that Paul vacates his own self and accedes control to another self who takes possession of him.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 3 April 2008 @ 5:26 am

  61. Paul seems concerned with “working out” salvation through an active/dynamic engagement with the Spirit: putting faith into play.

    Would you say it is possible to translate this to Deleuzespeak where the active engagement with the Spirit would mean LIFE IN THE FLESH, a material divinity, or00 do the Scriptures provide no jusification for such a move?

    Clysmatics Lacan agrees with Christianity to the extent that in both systems self is an illusion, no hay banda. This is the same in Deleuze. Since psychonalaysis is NOT a religion, of course he is not even going to attempt to put God in the picture. If he did that he would simply be reinforcing neurosis, which comes from violent attempts to possess another soul with your own desires – a form of possession indeed, like Laura Palmer in Twin Peaks. But I now want to explore whether within Christianity another God is possible, one that does not so much transcend this life as mutate through the terrible and wondrous contortions of the flesh.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 3 April 2008 @ 2:55 pm

  62. Sorry to jump in rather late. Starting with 1Cor13 we could surmise that Paul is a sceptic as far as “know thyself” is concerned. The same conclusion from a different angle would emerge from Rom7. Perhaps this idea is at least partly that the one who does know, and who by nature will not do other than nurture, is now in control so that what ‘this self’ could have been is now going to actually happen. The scenario switches from something like abdicating the self to an unknown force, to self realization on a new plane – something quite portalic perhaps?

    Like

    Comment by Sam L. Carr — 3 April 2008 @ 2:56 pm

  63. Back to the “it is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.” We tend to think of Christ as Jesus’ last name, but it’s the Greek word for messiah or anointed or chosen. Christ isn’t capitalized in the Greek — the English translators have done us the “favor” of making sure we interpret Paul’s meaning “correctly;” i.e., that he’s thinking about the person of Jesus here. But if Paul had meant Jesus he’d have used the definite article: THE Christ lives in me. Without a definite article the noun becomes an abstract property: messiahdom or anointedness or chosenness. This construction works in English too; e.g., “man” rather than “the man” or “a man” means humanity in the abstract. So when he says that “christ lives in me” Paul could be saying that his being set apart by God is what now gives his life meaning.

    “the active engagement with the Spirit would mean LIFE IN THE FLESH, a material divinity”

    Jesus is material divinity. I think this idea of man being transformed into godliness is inherent in Paul’s teachings. As I understand it, Orthodox theology emphasizes this aspect of Christian theology; Catholicism and Protestantism, by contrast, tend to downplay this godlike transformation fearing that it constitutes an all-too-human arrogance. Paul says “it is no longer I who live, but christ(ness) lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God…” If this transformation into godliness comes from the bottom up, through immanent godly forces, then Paul is operating in Deleuzian gnostic space. If, on the other hand, Paul’s personality is swapped out for that of Jesus, then it’s transcendence dropping down from above and making the transformation via mystical self-abnegation.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 4 April 2008 @ 5:36 am

  64. I’m not entirely sure that I understand what “Deleuzian gnostic space” actually means but if that’s the opposite of the top down, and self-abnegation then it’s probably close to how I read the substance of what is happening for Paul here. Though, I am not at all sure that I would agree with the idea that it is also not personal for Paul as all the evidence points to Paul’s equating the possibility of being transformed as something that God accomplishes for us “en christo”, and the way Paul that freely interchanges his use of Jesus, lord, and christ, also adds to my feeling that he is speaking of something with personal and relational facets.

    Like

    Comment by Sam L. Carr — 4 April 2008 @ 6:49 am

  65. “Lacan agrees with Christianity to the extent that in both systems self is an illusion, no hay banda. This is the same in Deleuze.”

    I don’t think Christianity regards self as an illusion; rather, it typically regards self as an obstacle that gets in the way of a God-oriented life. Self is equated with ego — which isn’t surprising since “ego” is the Greek word for “I.” What Deleuze wants to do is to make the self an emergent manifestation of bottom-up instinctive forces working through bodies. I agree with this idea that the self isn’t an eternal soul that’s been deposited into a body, and that the self is inextricable both from the meat and from the socius. Self is a construct, a result of impersonal and transpersonal forces rather than the free-choice autonomous agent of neoliberal ideology. But is that ALL the self is — just a channel for drives bumping into societal constraints? Is it possible really to be an agent even after all the illusions of autonomy have been stripped away? That’s the big question. Deleuze talks about individuating forces, but is one of those forces the individual self who is responsible for his choices, feelings, actions,etc.?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 4 April 2008 @ 7:48 am

  66. “the way Paul that freely interchanges his use of Jesus, lord, and christ, also adds to my feeling that he is speaking of something with personal and relational facets.”

    I’m afraid you’re probably right, Sam. Would you contend then that Paul really does envision an exchange of selves: my self for the self of Jesus who inhabits me, wills through me, lives a good life through me, etc.? If so, do you think this is a good plan that Paul proposes?

    It would be a useful exegetical project to look at Paul’s use of the word “christos” separate from the name “Jesus.” I suspect we’ve become accustomed to regarding Jesus and Christ as interchangeable, but Paul might not have had that in mind.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 4 April 2008 @ 7:53 am

  67. Having done a very brief online search, I renounce my theory about “christos” in Galatians 2. Paul frequently refers to Jesus as Christ, rather than THE Christ. So when he says that “Christ lives in me,” he’s most likely referring to Christ the person.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 4 April 2008 @ 1:04 pm

  68. K: If this transformation into godliness comes from the bottom up, through immanent godly forces, then Paul is operating in Deleuzian gnostic space. If, on the other hand, Paul’s personality is swapped out for that of Jesus, then it’s transcendence dropping down from above and making the transformation via mystical self-abnegation.

    Christian theology of all stripes has tended to favor holding together the transcendent/immanent dichotomy as a divine mystery. The Son was both fully God and fully man; God is both wholly other and as close as a whisper.

    I interpret Paul as interacting with both ideas in Galatians. In the second chapter, Paul is dead and is replaced by Christ. I’ve clipped the verses that provide context:

    Galatians 2:17-21 “But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be! 18 “For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 “For through the Law I died to the Law, that I might live to God. 20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me. 21 “I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”

    Paul stood up against the institutionalizing forces that were influencing Peter. Law was being re-introduced and Paul would have none of it. So he publicly called Peter out on it. This leads to Paul going on about Law. I interpret him at this point as saying that the economy of Law is dead. Paul kills of the Law economy and declares that he himself has died and Christ lives in him. I think this is clearly an example of your transcendent model, K.

    On the other hand, I see the immanent model at work as well. Chapter five strikes me as a similar but more detailed explanation of the economy of Law that Paul discussed in chapter 2. But this time, Paul also discusses Law in relation to Freedom, Flesh, and Spirit. The result in chapter 5 is not death to Law and death to self; rather, “The flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.”

    In chapter 5, I think there is more the idea that internal forces are at work: the flesh and Spirit are in conflict. In fact, choice is something of an illusion: you do not do what you want. But here Paul does not use the death/kill metaphor to obliterate the Law. Law just becomes irrelevant. It is there (not killed off), but those led by the Spirit are not under it. In chapter two the Law died, Paul died, and Christ takes the place of both. Here in chapter five there are forces at work, and if the Spirit is the dominant force, then Law is simply powerless and irrelevant. Flesh/Law are still in view but no longer powerful.

    I think this becomes an intriguing text, because Paul doesn’t mind using both of these two very different metaphors (transcendent/immanent) that you, K, identified above. Perhaps it goes back to meaning and interpretation. Both interpretations of the Christian life are possible, it just depends upon one’s perspective. Within the span of one letter, Paul finds the room to identify with two metaphors that we would normally dichotomize and set at odds. But for Paul we can interpret the economy of Law in two very different ways and either kill it off or just live above it (metanomianism!), depending upon which perspective we take: If Law is a transcendent and dominant power, then it can be put to death; but if Law is an immanent force, then walking with the Spirit renders the Law/Flesh powerless and the believer can move above/beyond it.

    Choose your own adventure.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 4 April 2008 @ 8:22 pm

  69. I think you’ve captured the immanent/transcendent tension of Paul nicely, Erdman. There’s a definite gnostic strain in Paul’s thinking: Jesus is both god and man, an intermediary between the upper and lower registers. Christ takes the place of the self, in effect channeling his presence through multiple individuals, such that all the individuals collectively become “the body of Christ.” Maybe there’s some further exploration of Christology that’s necessary, whereby Christ isn’t only the personality of the man Jesus but is also a spirit of incarnate divinity. However, this whole “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” business just seems like bad thinking on Paul’s part — a failure to arrive at a way of replacing the divided self of Romans 7 with something whole but still fully human.

    In Fight Club there’s the immanent movement that both brings Tyler into Jack’s awareness and that incites them to mutual (= self) destruction. But in the aggregate, among all the Fight Clubbers, there’s a sense that it’s no longer I who live, but Tyler lives in me. Tyler attains a gnostic transcendence, not just as an attitude but as a self. And this is the core of the fascism: people signing over their autonomy to be replaced by the identity and will of a charismatic and forceful personality.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 5 April 2008 @ 10:12 am

  70. self as an illusion; rather, it typically regards self as an obstacle that gets in the way of a God-oriented life.

    I sense a paradox here, isn’t it the NECESSARTY obstacle that nevertheless has to be overcome? Is there a less dialectic solution? Isn’t transsubstantiation the answer?

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 5 April 2008 @ 8:20 pm

  71. I think transubstantiation is a good way to think about it, PC. Transubstantiation is a kind of mystical event through which the bread and wine still LOOK LIKE ordinary material stuff but REALLY they’ve been turned into the body and blood of Christ. So what’s the analogous miracle for transubstantiating a self? The person still looks like himself, but really he’s been transformed into Christ? I think that’s just the sort of thing that Paul has in mind.

    Luther, in his usual both/and sort of paradoxical approach, advocated CONsubstantiation: BOTH bread/wind AND body/blood. And Luther maintained this dialectical tension about human selves too: BOTH old man AND new man, flesh AND spirit, sinner AND saint, myself AND Christ-in-me. But I’m not sure either Paul or Luther envisions a synthesis whereby the old man and the new man merge into some new sort of hybrid that constitutes an ordinary human self fused with a Christ-likeness. It always seems as though the self is dying away while the Christ-likeness gradually emergess into full presence.

    I’d regard some sort of transubstantial fusion as a more attractive Biblical anthropology. That’s why I was trying to read “christos” as a more abstract principle of messiahdom, of being spiritually anointed and called. Jesus would have been powered by this spirit of messiahdom, being whatever was the most godlike version of himself he could possibly have been in that particular place and time in history. Each individual might similarly be infused with a subjective sort of messiahdom that’s unique to that particular person. This messianic self, a sort of god-man hybrid, would gradually replace the old divided-and-dying self. I don’t know that much about Orthodox beliefs, but I have a sense that this messianic god-man transformation is more in keeping with the Eastern version of Christianity. If it could be reconciled more clearly with Paul’s writings I’d feel better about it.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 6 April 2008 @ 4:45 am

  72. So in this transubstantial fusion the entire material self remains intact, which includes all the brain functions that constitute personality, will, etc. But the motive force that animates this self changes, from the empty deadness of self-contained meat-creature to a self who is immanently INSPIRED and transcendentally CALLED to a spiritually unique destiny.

    What worries me is Paul’s insistence that people must take on not just Jesus’ messiahdom but his personality, his self, in a way that replaces the ordinary human self rather than either transforming it or fusing with it in a god-man hybrid. It’s too transcendental, too gnostic for my tastes.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 6 April 2008 @ 5:03 am

  73. K: Luther, in his usual both/and sort of paradoxical approach, advocated CONsubstantiation: BOTH bread/wind AND body/blood.

    This is such an intriguing way to look at this issue. On the Roman and Lutheran view the symbol has a real signifier, no?

    Other Reformed branches of Protestantism then held that the bread/wine was merely symbolic of the body/blood of Christ. The substance remained unchanged; there was no real body/blood of Christ: it was all symbol. “This do in remembrance of me.” So they partake in the spiritual Christ via partaking in the mere symbol. These branches of protestantism, then, appear to treat spiritual transformation, itself, as a symbol: a signifier with no “real” signified, save that of the meaning that each individual has personally imbued upon the sacraments.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 6 April 2008 @ 9:05 am

  74. K: But I’m not sure either Paul or Luther envisions a synthesis whereby the old man and the new man merge into some new sort of hybrid that constitutes an ordinary human self fused with a Christ-likeness. It always seems as though the self is dying away while the Christ-likeness gradually emergess into full presence.

    Well, I think the synthesis is closer to what Paul is getting at. My point is that Paul uses somewhat contradictor metaphors that deconstruct themselves quite easily. So, I think it might be impossible to say that there was one, true Pauline version of the new sanctified self. He left it open, I think, even to the point of not possibly being able to define it, himself. So, instead he uses metaphors. That was my prior point: Chapter 2 says one thing and Chapter 5 another.

    Let’s look a bit more closely at chapter 2, though:
    Galatians 2:17-21 “But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be! 18 “For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 “For through the Law I died to the Law, that I might live to God. 20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me. 21 “I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”

    In context, the dead self is the part of the self that is a “transgressor.” This transgressing self is the self that wants to bring itself under Law again. This self was crucified with Christ because (per Romans) Christ fulfilled the Law.

    K: What worries me is Paul’s insistence that people must take on not just Jesus’ messiahdom but his personality, his self, in a way that replaces the ordinary human self rather than either transforming it or fusing with it in a god-man hybrid. It’s too transcendental, too gnostic for my tastes.

    I think there is a gnostic strand to Paul, and I’m not trying to convince you to be a Pauline disciple here, but I think that the death to self theology of Paul is not intended to kill the personality. I think to make this suggestion is to read too much 20th/21st century psychology into a 1st century mindset.

    I interpret Paul’s thinking is somewhat vague, but true in its general direction. I do not interpret him as commenting on the self with the psychological complexity that is available to those of us who are post-Freudian. I think there are blanks to be filled in in Paul’s theology.

    K: So in this transubstantial fusion the entire material self remains intact, which includes all the brain functions that constitute personality, will, etc. But the motive force that animates this self changes, from the empty deadness of self-contained meat-creature to a self who is immanently INSPIRED and transcendentally CALLED to a spiritually unique destiny.

    John, this sounds a bit Gnostic to me. What gives?

    I also think this is not out of line with my interpretation of Paul in Galatians (see above).

    Fight Club: You are not a unique and beautiful snowflake.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 6 April 2008 @ 9:15 am

  75. Because I do agree with your earlier statement that a completely dead self leads to facist control and manipulation. This has occurred all too often in the religious community.

    My vision for Christian community is a respect for the self as other, regardless of whether that conforms to prior expectations for what is appropriately “Christian.” In fact, I would rather have a person renounce their faith in Christ if it meant that they were more honest with themselves. The traditional model, of course, prefers outward conformity and confession over and above personal integrity.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 6 April 2008 @ 9:24 am

  76. I don’t claim a full understanding of Paul’s ideas, Erdman, though it seems I’m a lot closer to it than you (winky smiley). I agree that he’s not always consistent, and Galatians is a good example: dead to law, but here are the rules, and so on. Part of the issue is whether one continues trying to make one’s ideas line up with Paul’s text, as if he really knew the right way to go, or whether one assumes that he was pretty sharp for his times but not completely sure or right in what he was saying.

    I think the idea of Jesus’ personality taking over for the self is much more aligned with 1st century gnosticism than with contemporary psychological ideas — that’s why it’s so hard to imagine that Paul really means it when he says “no longer I but Christ in me.” Metaphorical thinking a la Calvin is a more modernist approach. Paul seemed to be more about how people participate in the divine essence, perhaps even in the divine personality. It’s more a Greek thing I think: individuation is an imperfect manifestation of the Ideal, and the ideal human is Jesus. The medievalists continued this idea of individual stuff participating imperfectly in the ideal. Transubstantiation is like this too, where countless specific pieces of bread and cups of wine all participate in the one ideal body and blood of Christ. There are things to be learned from this premodern outlook for sure, some of which offer correctives to the modern autonomous and individualistic and unified view of the self. So it’s worth struggling with I think.

    “John, this sounds a bit Gnostic to me. What gives?”

    Doesn’t mean I advocate this gnosticism — just trying to make it more palatable than the many-to-one exchange of various individual selves for the perfect personality of Jesus. As you know, I think there might be sub-personal forces that move people to doing good and excellent things, as well as trans-personal forces that link us to one another. So it’s sort of gnostic, or at least not locked into individualistic rationalism.

    I like your Christian community, Erdman. I suspect you’d agree that this doesn’t need to be a utopia — just a direction people are headed, even if haltingly.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 6 April 2008 @ 2:53 pm

  77. Yes. You are right. Utopian ideals are foolish.

    John, in terms of the motif of death, I suspect there are other angles to look at it from, rather than merely the death of personality. For example, when you had a child, didn’t you have to sacrifice your own time and desires for the sake of caring for another? Isn’t this sacrifice something of a death to self?

    And what about marriage? Isn’t marriage a similar sacrifice of one’s time, affection, energy, and even a sacrifice of one’s self? All this is a sacrifice for another. All of this is something of a death to self, is it not? You certainly retain your personality, your Doyle-ness, if you will. However, wouldn’t you say that there is a certain death to self idea there? Relationships strike me as death to self.

    Another thought along these lines is placing Paul’s death to self and “it is Christ who lives in me” in the context of Paul’s Christology. Christ had shown the ultimate example of death to self “taking on the very nature of a servant,” becoming a curse, and “becoming sin for us.” So, the death-to-self theology seems to follow naturally from Christ to his disciples. Christ lays down his life for the world, and his followers are to do the same. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.”

    Is any true virtue or sacrifice for the greater good of humanity possible without some kind of death to self?

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 6 April 2008 @ 7:37 pm

  78. All that’s fine, but I’m still stuck on “it’s no longer I who live, but Christ living in me.” Also, you’d hope that the examples you give would entail a reaching out, an extension or expansion of the self to embrace others, rather than a restriction of the self. This would be the immanent force of love propelling you forward and the transcendence of the other drawing you to him/herself. This is where I’d like to see “Christ living in me” be less of an indwelling person and more of an incarnate force and/or an example to follow.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 6 April 2008 @ 8:26 pm

  79. I had thought that we were at a neat and tidy stopping point here, but it occurs to me that one of the reasons I may be missing you here is that I haven’t seen all the cards that you’re holding. Perhaps I don’t need to see all the cards, but there is something I am curious about.

    How do you define self?

    You are obviously concerned (rightly so, as I have suggested) about the loss of self and the identiy-take-over of Christ that seems present in a death-to-self, “not I but Christ who lives in me” theology.

    But what “self” is there to lose? I think you need to define what that is.

    Are you referring to a more modern conception of the self? That there is some “thing” in me that we can refer to as “self”? Or is your idea of personhood more post-modern? The idea that we are a construct of social and cultural forces?

    Paul actually strikes me as a bit more on the side of the latter. In Gal 5, for instance, he says that the Spirit and Flesh are in conflict with each other so that “you do not do what you want.” In other words, Paul calls into question what the Modernist might call the Will. There is no will, no “what I want,” only competing interests of Flesh/Spirit.

    So, all that to say, What do you mean by “self”? I’m not entirely clear on where your coming from.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 8 April 2008 @ 1:21 pm

  80. I think of the self as some combination of related constructs:

    – Individuation — what is the same about me across time and circumstance and what makes me different from everyone else
    – Agency — the ability to initiate independent thought, feeling or action
    – Sentience — awareness of self-as-identity and self-as-agent

    Let’s suppose that Paul, you and I agree that the self is mostly a social construct, imposed upon the individual by outside expectations. The socially-constructed self that particularly concerns Paul is the way in which Law shapes both the ideal self-image and the unconscious desire to reject that image. As a result, the self can neither achieve the ideal nor come to grips with “what you want” that’s not associated with the ideal and its opposite. This socially-constructed self is also the instrument of self-destruction: it must be exposed for what it is and dismantled. At this point Lacan is Pauline in his understanding of the problem and the solution.

    The question is whether another, more “authentic” self can emerge once the false socially-constructed self is demolished. I tend to agree that the search for the “true self” is largely futile. I imagine my self as an autonomous entity that transcends genetic predisposition and societal embeddedness, but I have to admit that this ambition is futile. So, must I conclude that there is no such thing as a self? I don’t think so. This relates to discussions we’ve had here about Davidson and Tomasello as well as on your blog about that contemporary Reformed philosopher with the goofy beard whose name escapes me right now. I think that self, other, and world mutually define each other. I think self is an ongoing project of discovery, separation, and creation within the context of the physical and social environment in which we all are inextricably embedded.

    Now I could picture a version of Christianity in which God makes it possible for individuals to attain an authentic self. Christianity even endows its God with selfhood — multiple selfhood for that matter, 3 persons participating in the same decentered godly entity. And I have a sense that historical Christianity gradually shaped the cultural idea of what a self is, via the notion of the eternal soul that inhabits the body but that transcends space and time.

    I’ll stop for now. Does this idea of self correspond to what you think about it, Erdman? Do you think that’s what Paul had in mind?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 9 April 2008 @ 8:10 am

  81. hey bru,

    i sent you something about a group blog. anyway it seems like paul is an important protagonist in the stuff likely to unfold there. anyway, please look at it and tell me what you think

    Like

    Comment by dionysusstoned — 9 April 2008 @ 8:42 am

  82. Thanks. That helps. I’ll have to chew on it a bit more.

    I’m hesitant to say what Paul’s idea of “self” was. I think for Paul there was clearly a sense in which humanity has fallen short of what it should be. Paul’s solution is Christological: the authentic self is a redeemed self that is being transformed. 2 Corinthians 5 is instructive, as I’ve mentioned before:

    if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

    But this is no individual thing. The self relates itself to others, especially those in the community of believers. The ultimate relationship is one of love (1 Corinthians 13), whereby one can lay down one’s life as Christ did.

    So, the “new creation” is both an individual and community transformation. It is individual transformation resulting from the self’s interaction with others. This perhaps parallels Davidson’s triangulation.

    The idea of the redeemed self is critical for Paul, which is why it all hinges on Christ and union with Christ. In Paul’s context, the Law was the barrier to Christ: it kept one in a destructive mindset. Redemption and the Spirit-filled life ushered in freedom; ironically, though, it was not freedom to exalt the self in terms of power or pleasure, but to sacrifice for others using Christ’s sacrifice as an example.

    Beyond that, I don’t know how complex Paul’s notion of “self” was. As I mentioned, I’m hesitant in reading 21st century conceptions back into Paul. But it would be certainly worthwhile to study what “self” may have meant in the first century, don’t you think?

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 9 April 2008 @ 9:32 am

  83. “I’m hesitant in reading 21st century conceptions back into Paul.”

    I understand and share your hesitancy, Erdman. At the same time I who look back at the ancient texts am a “21st century schizoid man.” (Do you know this song? King Crimson, 1969 — sort of prog rock before there were such nuances of genre.) The influences are bidirectional; e.g., Lacan gains insight from the long Judeo-Christian tradition, while his perspective enables us to see new insights the old texts.

    There’s a really great book by Charles Taylor entitled Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity. Catholic and Wittgensteinian in outlook, Taylor offers a historical review of the sense of self. He agrees with you and Paul that identity is wrapped up in morality, or perhaps more broadly our sense of the good. Taylor observes that the modern notion of individualism is peculiarly powerful in American culture… Americans have built on the earlier Puritan tradition of ‘leaving home’… the young person has to go out, to leave the parental background, to make his or her own way in the world… And yet we can talk without paradox about an American ‘tradition’ of leaving home. The young person learns this stance, but this stance is also something expected of him or her.

    Unfortunately Taylor goes from Plato to Augustine without talking about Paul. Intriguingly, Taylor attributes to Augustine the modern sense of self as “inner.” Says Augustine: Do not go outward: return within yourself. In the inward man dwells truth. In this Augustine was following Paul’s lead but construing the concepts in Greek terms. Augustine’s inward turn is motivated in part by the importance of reason in understanding God, but it’s also motivated by morality: search your conscience to see if you’re living up to God’s standards. So it’s possible to see how Augustine’s outlook led simultaneously to Descartes and to Luther and Calvin.

    So if we try to look at Paul’s “no longer I but Christ” statement in Galatians 2 before Augustine trained us how to see, can we discover something other than the person of Christ occupying the inner self as the source of true understanding and goodness freed from the perversions of the outer, bodily self? I think maybe so. In Galatians Paul mostly addresses the uselessness of the Law in achieving true goodness, as we’ve discussed before. In this part of the letter he’s addressing not the Gentiles but the Jewish Christians — We are Jews by nature, and not sinners from among the Gentiles (Gal. 2:15). But even we Jews aren’t justified by the Law that God gave only to us as His chosen people; rather, we are justified by faith in Christ. Even so, we discover that we are still sinners (v. 17); i.e., we aren’t really good. What’s up with that? Paul says that from God’s perspective the Jews are deemed justified despite our persistent sinfulness because Christ suffered the Law’s prescribed punishment for lawbreaking on behalf of Israel collectively. So from God’s perspective relative to the Law, he sees a clean slate because Jesus has atoned for Israel collectively. If a Jew acknowledges this atonement, then he recognizes that he stands under the protective umbrella of Jesus’ goodness and suffering on behalf of the collective. “Christ lives in me” not necessarily as the source of my own goodness, but as the token of having been accepted by God despite my imperfections.

    I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and delivered himself up for me. Here Paul says that he lives “in the flesh” by faith. The flesh isn’t posited as evil and in conflict with the spirit. Rather, Christ fulfills a legal collective requirement that allows me to continue living my own life in the flesh without coming under condemnation. I am reckoned as righteous through my participation in the collective covenantal benefits achieved through Christ’s life and death, without having to establish my own righteousness. I am free to live my own life without this burden hanging over my head, and freed from the perverse desire to sin that’s stimulated by the Law itself (as Paul notes in Romans 7 and as Lacan elaborates on much later).

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 10 April 2008 @ 4:38 am

  84. Your thoughts on going to the “inner man” to find truth/life/goodness/etc. also warrants a mention of Aristotle and his idea that contemplation/reflection was the highest forms of the happy/good life:

    It follows, then, that the divine life, which surpasses all other in blessedness, consists in contemplation….
    Happiness, then, extends just so far as contemplation, and the more contemplation the more happiness is there in a life–not accidentally, but as a necessary accompaniment of the contemplation; for contemplation is precious in itself. Our conclusion, then, is that happiness is a kind of speculation or contemplation.
    [Book 10, 7]

    I agree with your assessment of Paul. I do think that “action is a method of purification” (Wilde) in a certain sense. Faith is not a purely contemplative state or a faith of the inner; rather, Paul is probably more Jewish faith as faithfulness. Faith plays itself out; faith becomes faith as it is lived.

    So, there is a movement from living life based on an economy of Law (“do this,” “don’t do that”) to a more superior life of freedom/grace/spirit/Christ-in-me. Perhaps not so much a coup d’etat of the personality, but more of a shift in mindset and the new presence of the indwelling power of Christ/Spirit to guide the self into a new mentality and a higher spiritual existence.

    I thought I might bring in Romans 8 as a cross reference. Paul links the Law-Flesh mindset with death. In contrast, he proposes freedom. But here it is also interesting b/c Paul uses the word “control” to describe the work of the Spirit. I don’t know that I believe this means an overriding of the will or personality (as we generally understand these terms), but I think what we might see here is Paul’s Galatians 5 idea of having two opposing forces battling within the self.

    1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

    5Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

    9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 10 April 2008 @ 12:56 pm

  85. “Perhaps not so much a coup d’etat of the personality, but more of a shift in mindset and the new presence of the indwelling power of Christ/Spirit to guide the self into a new mentality and a higher spiritual existence”

    Whether that’s what Paul meant or not — which is certainly possible — it’s certainly more palatable. Your quote of Romans 8 in light of Galatians 5 is apt — it’s hard for people to accept Paul’s indictment of the Law. Not just that it’s prideful or whatever to try to earn your own salvation, but the whole idea of following rules as the basis for being good just doesn’t work for Paul. However, I know I’ve previously pointed out the flaw in your translation of v. 9: that “sinful nature” business is too theological, too Augustinian. “Flesh” is a more accurate translation. V. 10 sounds very dualistic, where the body is dead but spirit is alive. Just when we’re ready to cut Paul some slack he comes in with this ascetically Platonic sounding pronouncement. Ah, but then there’s the next verse:

    But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

    It’s hard to fit all this stuff together into a coherent picture, but I think the flesh is dead not because it’s intrinsically sinful but because he seems to use “flesh” as a technical term for the distortion of the natural man resulting from the inescapable conflict between law and desire. So there’s simultaneously death to the law and the flesh, which in effect define one another. In their place you get spirit and a revitalized body, no longer tormented by desire and guilt, motivated toward love that makes rules unnecessary.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 10 April 2008 @ 8:58 pm

  86. Yes, I was using the NIV and did a cut-and-paste job. I agree with you that “Flesh” is a better translation. More and more I think that Flesh is meant to be ambiguous.

    Also, I’m not sure that I would say that flesh is a distortion of natural man….in terms of Pauline thought….the “natural” man seems more inclined toward anti-God thoughts/actions, which seems to result in the natural man preferring Law-Flesh over and above Spirit-Freedom.

    What do you think? For Paul, does “natural” = better? Or worse?

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 11 April 2008 @ 12:34 pm

  87. I think the usage of “flesh” depends on the context. So in the passage from Romans 8 the flesh is against the spirit, but in Galatians 3 Paul says that the life he now lives in the flesh he lives by faith. This would be a worthy word study, to look at all the ways Paul uses “flesh.”

    Regarding “natural” it’s hard to say. In 1 Cor. 15 Paul regards the mortal body as natural and having a glory of its own, so I don’t see much evidence for an intrinsically corrupt human nature. It seems that there is no raw natural man, or at least it’s never encountered directly — just like Lacan’s notion of the Real. Human nature is always controlled or shaped by something else: the flesh, the law, the spirit, etc. And as I’ve contended before, the dominance of the “flesh” isn’t the same as raw nature; it’s directly related to the inadequacies of the law as a force for harnessing or freeing human nature. Again, a topic worthy of investigation in detail.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 11 April 2008 @ 12:46 pm

  88. Indeed.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 12 April 2008 @ 1:36 pm

  89. That’s fascinating. In the beginning of Romans (ch2-3), Paul sets up a dichotomy between those who follow the law naturally and those who don’t even though the whole thing has been spelled out for them. Paul first seems to argue that law+faith is what pleases God, then goes on to declare that in any case righteousness does not exist – with or without the law. From this one could conclude that the “natural state” of mankind is disobedience, but it still leaves hanging the earlier contention that some do have faith, as observed by their “natural” inclination to follow the law…

    Like

    Comment by Sam L. Carr — 13 April 2008 @ 12:22 pm

  90. Let’s look at the beginning of Romans first, Sam. In Romans 1:21-27 Paul says that people abandoned their natural knowledge and passions, AND ALSO that God gave people over to impurity and degrading passions. Both seem like deviations from the natural condition: the one caused by man, the other by God. It seems that this ongoing dispute between man and God takes man farther and farther away from whatever the natural human condition really is. Between man’s rebellion and God’s vengeance, man gets more and more alienated not only from God but from his own human desires.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 14 April 2008 @ 4:45 am

  91. My theory on Rom 1:18f is rather that Paul is setting his hearers up by quoting to them one of their own favorite bits of ‘God logic’. I say this because when read in continuity with 2:1f the emphatic accusation that follows Paul’s famous ‘catalogue of evils’ in retrospect makes of his list something else instead. In ch4, Paul jumps on to Abraham as an example of one of these ‘faithful’. Many have noted that there isn’t much to impress as far as Abe the man was concerned (from what the record shows) and in his case it is more obedience at certain critical points rather than an overall ‘righteousness’ that Paul seems to highlight.

    Lets assume for a moment that the standard reading of Paul here is wrong. Paul does not believe that our birth as ‘fallen’ persons makes it impossible to please God in those instances where God does demand an act of obedience, which may not be an ‘always’ sort of thing…

    Like

    Comment by Sam L. Carr — 14 April 2008 @ 11:49 am

  92. “our birth as ‘fallen’ persons makes it impossible to please God in those instances where God does demand an act of obedience”

    Why fallen from birth, Sam? Why not let it play out the way Paul, consistently in his epistles and here in Romans, says it does: that the incompatibility between human nature and the Law is what leads to depravity? Romans 2:20-21: But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 15 April 2008 @ 6:25 am

  93. Kt, That Paul’s believed the idea of being ‘fallen from birth’ is pretty much what I’ve heard preached as Paul’s undeniable opinion from my childhood on and I now think it doesn’t wash, at least from the standpoint of the Pauline texts, so I think we rather agree.

    If there is then no ‘essential’ falleness (as a sort of a Platonic category), then Paul, when talking about the law-sin-nature paradigm, is speaking about a struggle for righteousness that can go either way. It is not impossible, with God’s help, even when we don’t exactly know that that is what is happening – some like Noah or Abe are able to make some of these righteous choices, even though ‘the world’ thinks they are nuts.

    Human nature certainly is not very compatible with the law and hence the law (unintentionally?) synergises the process of sin, but the point is that there is nothing that prevents human nature from responding to the ‘inner’ or ‘outer’ law because it is still possible to respond to God, and with God’s help, obedience to the law, or even better, will be the result.

    For Paul, Jesus breaks the old paradigm and short circuits the whole process by including us in his own righteousness.

    It still sounds contradictory to me, but this is my present ‘level’ of speculation.

    Like

    Comment by Sam L. Carr — 15 April 2008 @ 10:02 am

  94. A couple things, Sam. First, even Paul says that, as to the righteousness of the Law, he himself was “found blameless” (Philippians 3:6) — so it can be done. Second, a lot of the Mosaic Law is arbitrary; e.g., kosher food rules, washing rituals — so following the Law is only tangentially related to being righteous. I think that’s Paul’s issue: the Law itself just isn’t that great of a standard. So what is the standard? Is it even possible to codify goodness and love in terms of conformity with a set of objective standards? Probably not. The complaint is that you end up with libertinism and relativism, but that’s the realm where the Spirit operates for both Jesus and Paul (at least on their good days).

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 16 April 2008 @ 1:46 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: